Exploring the Potential of Crowdfunding for EV-Charging Infrastructure Development : A Strategy for Collaborative Financing of EV Charging Points in Sweden

University essay from KTH/Skolan för industriell teknik och management (ITM)

Abstract: All over the world, raising concerns about energy conservation and the environmental impacts of greenhouse gas emissions has promoted the development of a sustainable mobility transition. Successful electric vehicle (EV) deployment plays a vital role in this manner but is still facing obstacles, where public charging infrastructure is one of them. Additionally, digitization is transforming and introducing new industries worldwide, contributing with new constructs to be used in the evolving transition. Simultaneously, technology is surpassing the competition, and is one of the most potent transformational force affecting customer relations in the energy sector, leading to customers anticipating more from the power utility companies. To attain a long-termsustainable competitive advantage, firms have to retain, sustain, and nurture their customer base. To do so, corporations have comprehended the value of embracing customer-centric incentives, enabling them to capture more indirect business values. Furthermore, this thesis was done in collaboration with a power utility company, referred to as ‘Org X’ or ‘the CPO’. Influenced by the reasoning above, it investigated the opportunity to create indirect business values through a demand-driven roll-out of the national charging infrastructure with the use of crowdfunding. This was achieved by adopting an exploratory methodology approach, where a mixed inductive-deductive design was used. A multi-method qualitative data collection was made; consisting mainly of semi-structured-, and unstructured interviews with experts in the field. Thus, a profound perspective of the EV-charging market landscape was attained, which enabled adequate reasoning when proposing a strategy approach for the cause. Additionally, quantitative secondary data was used to develop a tool for an initial location evaluation, that is part of the recommended approach. This tool was also used to enhance the understanding of the national EV-charging market landscape, the customer segments, as well the potential market for a co-creating platform. The findings suggest that the perceived readiness level of crowdfunding charging infrastructure varies depending on what aspect that is being accommodated. A platform that connects stakeholders is encouraged by actors in the field, but crowdfunding through solely end-users is questioned as close proximity to the end-user’s location is a key-factor regarding motivation to fund a charging point. A ‘Tier based framework’, that facilitates this transition was therefore developed and evaluated. Additionally, the framework was considered in the market analysis case study, which further included a recommended implementation and communication approach. If used accordingly, this framework could bring both indirect- and direct business values to the power utility company in question, as well as the involved stakeholders.

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